Guide to Service Residence benefits

Introduction

This guide is designed to explain your Service Residence (SR) & Surplus Service Residence Benefit (SSR), the administrative processes that support these housing solutions and your responsibilities as a tenant.

For enquiries regarding your eligibility for a Service Residence benefit, please contact DHA on 139 342 or email housing@dha.gov.au.

A Service Residence is a subsidised house or apartment that Defence provides to eligible members with dependants at most posting locations. These properties are located in proximity to Defence bases and offices throughout Australia.

There are times when a Service Residence may be deemed a Surplus Service Residence. Members who are categorised as member without dependants or member with dependants (unaccompanied) may be eligible to occupy a Surplus Service Residence.

Policy relating to Service Residences is determined by the Department of Defence and is outlined in the Defence Pay and Conditions Manual (PACMAN). DHA recommends ADF members familiarise themselves with the guidelines in chapter 7 of PACMAN and seek formal confirmation from DHA on their eligibility for an SR or Surplus SR benefit.

You may be eligible for a Service Residence or Surplus Service Residence in the following circumstances:

  • you or your dependants do not own a home in the posting location, or proximate region, or a home has been assessed as unsuitable by DHA; and
  • you have a spouse, recognised interdependent partner or children who live with you; or
  • you have other Defence recognised dependants who normally live with you; or
  • you are a member with dependants (unaccompanied) and your dependants need housing; or
  • you are a member without dependants or a member with dependants (unaccompanied) and there are Surplus Service Residences available in the posting location you are serving in.

The SR or SSR offered to you is dependent on:

  • the SR classification and your Group Rank Entitlement (GRE) in accordance with PACMAN chapter 7;
  • the gender, ages and number of dependants (child or adult); and
  • your posting locality.
  • If occupying a SSR, you can only share the residence with other members who are eligible to occupy. Civilians may not occupy a SSR.

Some items to be mindful of when applying for an SR or SSR:

If you change categorisation whilst living in an SR or SSR, you will need to contact DHA on 139 342 or email housing@dha.gov.au to have your eligibility for a housing benefit reviewed.

Defence subsidies the cost of accommodation. A member who occupies a Service Residence or Surplus Service Residence must make a contribution toward that cost as well. Your contribution is based on the Service Residence Classification (SRC) of the property at the time of reservation/lockdown. The contribution rates for SRs and Surplus SRs are broadly based on:

  • your rank
  • the SRC of the Service Residence
  • if the property is Rent Band Choice
  • if the property is above or below entitlement
  • if you were allocated the SR or if you elected the SR
  • if you are MWOD or MWD(U) and if you are sharing the residence with another eligible member.

Where your spouse is also a serving member only one contribution is payable, based on the senior rank.

You pay a contribution towards the cost of your SR on a fortnightly basis. If you choose an SR from a higher rent band than your GRE, you will pay a higher contribution. In a Surplus SR, selection of a higher rent band will result in higher contribution if you are not sharing the property.

The fortnightly rate of the contribution is detailed in PACMAN chapter 7 and can be worked out from the below tables. Upon lockdown, you will receive an email from DHA confirming the details of your proposed tenancy, including the contribution amount.

Water charges

Water contributions are also payable for SRs and Surplus SRs, this charge is included as a separate entry on your DHA Residential Agreement (DRA), under the GRS contribution. The rate of this contribution is detailed in PACMAN Chapter 7.

DHA will arrange for your SR contributions to commence being deducted from your pay

When you move into your new residence, your contributions will start from the date of occupation. Contributions are deducted fortnightly from your normal pay and DHA will arrange to have these deductions commenced.

Please note - you should allow up to two pay periods for your contribution to commence deduction from your pay. If you have any questions about when Defence will deduct your SR contributions, you can contact the Defence Call Centre on 1800 DEFENCE – (1800 333 3623).

Note: The Department of Defence reviews Contribution rates periodically.

Table 1. Group Entitlement

Rank Group (E) Group Rank Entitlement Service Residence Classification
CPL and below RB1 (CPL and below) A/B1/RB1
SSGT, SGT, LT and 2LT RB 1 B1/RB1
CAPT, WO1, WO2 RB2 B2/RB2
LTCOL and MA RB3 C/RB3
BRIG and COL RB4 D/RB4
MAJGEN and above RB5 E/RB5

Table 2. GRS contribution - rent per fortnight

RATES EFFECTIVE BETWEEN 26/01/2017 - 24/01/2018

Group Rank Entitlement of Member A RB1/B1 RB2/B2 RB3/C RB4/D
RB1 $481.30 $502.93 $502.93 $502.93 $502.93
RB2 $481.30 $502.93 $599.35 $599.35 $599.35
RB3 $481.30 $502.93 $599.35 $661.99 $661.99
RB4 $481.30 $502.93 $599.35 $661.99 $909.12

NEW RATES FROM 25/01/2018

Group Rank Entitlement of Member A RB1/B1 RB2/B2 RB3/C RB4/D
RB1 $496.72 $507.53 $507.53 $507.53 $507.53
RB2 $496.72 $507.53 $622.24 $622.24 $622.24
RB3 $496.72 $507.53 $622.64 $685.58 $685.58
RB4 $496.72 $507.53 $622.64 $685.58 $948.92
RB5 $496.72 $507.53 $622.24 $685.58 $948.92

Table 3. Higher Contribution Scheme (HCS) contribution - rent per fortnight

In accordance with Defence policy where a member chooses to live in a house classified above their entitlement when houses within their entitlement are available, the member will be required to pay HCS contributions.

RATES EFFECTIVE BETWEEN 26/01/2017 - 24/01/2018

Group Rank Entitlement of Member A RB1/B1 RB2/B2 RB3/C RB4/D
RB1 N/A N/A $695.77 $821.05 $1,315.31
RB2 N/A N/A N/A $724.63 $1,218.89
RB3 N/A N/A N/A N/A $1,156.25
RB4 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

NEW RATES EFFECTIVE 25/01/2018

Group Rank Entitlement of Member A RB1/B1 RB2/B2 RB3/C RB4/D
RB1 N/A N/A $737.75 $863.63 $1,390.31
RB2 N/A N/A N/A $748.52 $1,275.20
RB3 N/A N/A N/A N/A $1,212.26
RB4 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Table 4. Surplus Service Residence - Not Sharing

RATES EFFECTIVE BETWEEN 26/01/2017 - 24/01/2018

Group Rank Entitlement of Member A RB1/B1 RB2/B2 RB3/C RB4/D RB5/E
2 bedrooms
$433.17 $452.64
$539.42 $595.80 $818.21 $1,287.04
3 bedrooms
$481.30
$402.93 $599.35 $661.99
$909.12 $1,430.04

NEW RATES EFFECTIVE 25/01/2018

Group Rank Entitlement of Member A RB1/B1 RB2/B2 RB3/C RB4/D RB5/E
2 bedrooms
$447.05 $456.78
$$460.38 $617.03 $854.03 $1343.38
3 bedrooms
$496.72
$507.53
$622.64
$685.58 $948.92 $1,492.64

Table 5. Surplus Service Residence - Sharing

In accordance with Defence policy where a member chooses to live Surplus Service Residence and is sharing, the member will be required to pay the contribution relevant to the group rank and living arrangement.

RATES EFFECTIVE BETWEEN 26/01/2017 - 24/01/2018

Group Rank Entitlement of Member RB1 RB2 RB3 RB4 RB5
Share with 1
$226.32
$269.71 $297.90 $409.11 N/A
Share with 2+
$167.65 $199.79 $220.67
$303.04 N/A

NEW RATES EFFECTIVE 25/01/2018

Group Rank Entitlement of Member RB1 RB2 RB3 RB4 RB5
Share with 1
$228.39
$280.19
$308.52 $427.02 N/A
Share with 2+
$169.18 $207.55 $228.53
$316.31 N/A

The Service Residence (SR) process lifecycle

1. Activate preview access on your DHA Online Services
2. View and reserve a Service Residence
3. Confirm your occupation date
4. Notify DHA of any changes to your circumstances
5. Notify DHA when you are planning on vacating

How do I apply for a Service Residence or Surplus Service Residence?

Posting to a new location:

If you are posting to a new location, you are able to activate Preview access via your DHA Online Services. On the DHA website, log onto your DHA Online Services account and select the ‘Get Started’ button under the Have You Been Posted section? Complete the relevant questions and select ‘Apply for Preview Access’ to begin searching for a Service Residence.

If you are member with dependants this list will show available Service Residences and Rent Band Choice properties.

If member without dependants or member with dependants (unaccompanied) this list will show available Member Choice Accommodation properties and Surplus Service Residences.

Moving within your current posting location or within four weeks:

If you are an MWD member seeking an SR within the current posting location or are posting within 4 weeks please contact DHA on 139 342 or housing@dha.gov.au to assist with this process.

System process for Surplus SR:

If you are in receipt of rent allowance and are seeking a Surplus SR in your current location, select the 'Moved or Planning to Move' button against your current RA tenancy.

If you are posting in less than 4 weeks, or are in a housing type other than RA and want to occupy a Surplus SR within your location, please contact DHA on 139 342 or housing@dha.gov.au to assist with this process.

Password Reset:

Online Services provides a facility to reset a forgotten password – select ‘Forgotten your password?’ at the log on screen; or contact DHA on 139 342 or housing@dha.gov.au.

Viewing Service Residences on Online Services

Regularly access your DHA Online Services account and search for a suitable SR. As it is a live site, the SRs you see may change at any time. You can elect to receive notifications within Online Services when properties become available. Select the ‘Notify Me’ option once your Preview access has been activated.

Visibility of homes is influenced by the date you require housing. The SR’s Ready Date must fall within a viewing window that is 4 weeks prior to 2 weeks after your housing required date. Within 28 days from your housing required date, all SRs that are vacant and available will show on Online Services.

Widening your viewing

Demand and availability of Service Residences is assessed by DHA daily and, in some cases, we can widen your selection one up or down one rent band. This occurs automatically in some cases and will be reflected on your Online Services. If you choose an SR that is above your entitlement, the Higher Contribution Scheme (HCS) may apply.

You can also see Rent Band Choice (RBCH) properties on Preview access at any time if they are available in the region.

Note: Widened viewing is not available for Surplus Service Residences.

Reserving a Service Residence

Members are able to reserve a Service Residence online themselves. Select the Service Residence you wish to occupy. You have 30 minutes to either confirm or cancel your selection - a counter will be activated to tell you how long you have to make your decision. If you confirm your selection the SR will be reserved to you and removed from the Online Services viewing of other members. If you cancel your selection (ie. “un-reserve” the SR) the SR goes back on Online Services for other eligible members to view and reserve.

DHA confirms your occupation date either directly from TOLL, or via written notification from members who are not utilising a Commonwealth-funded removal. This could occur before or after you reserve a SR on Online Services.

Commonwealth-funded Removal

Once you have completed your Application For Relocation (AFR) with TOLL and they have confirmed your removal details, TOLL will notify DHA of the proposed occupation date.

Self-funded Removal

If you are not utilising a Commonwealth-funded removal, you will need to complete a Notification of Housing Change form (NOHC form) and send it to housing@dha.gov.au. This form confirms the date you wish to occupy the SR and allows DHA to arrange lock down and pre-occupation administration.

Change of Occupation Date

Should your proposed occupation date change for any reason, please notify DHA immediately on 139 342 or via housing@dha.gov.au as this may affect your eligibility to any SRs you are viewing or have reserved on Online Services.

What are your responsibilities?

Whilst in receipt of a subsidised housing benefit you are required to advise DHA of any changes to your domestic circumstances as soon as practicably possible after the change has occurred.

Supporting documentation may be required and must be submitted promptly after notifying of a change. This will ensure that any assessment of your housing benefit can be completed in a timely manner.

What happens if there is a change in your domestic circumstances?

Your ‘domestic circumstances’ are the grounds by which SR benefits and calculations are determined. Any changes need to be notified to DHA to determine your continued eligibility for a housing benefit.

Examples of changes include but are not limited to:

  • a dependant is approved by Defence
  • birth of or a child is no longer a recognised dependant
  • separation from spouse or partner
  • change of sharing occupants
  • a change in rank
  • purchase of own home
  • moving house within locality
  • promotion/demotion of rank
  • changing your unit or base
  • taking a period of Leave Without Pay
  • undertaking a flexible work arrangement outside of your posting location
  • discharge
You can log on to your DHA Online Services account to inform of most changes and submit any relevant documentation. If the option does not exist or you are unsure, contact DHA via 139 342 or housing@dha.gov.au.

How are Service Residence contributions ceased in my pay?

When you move out of your SR, Surplus SR, or when you are no longer eligible to receive a SR benefit, your contributions also need to cease.

If you are relocating to a new posting location, please log onto your DHA Online Services account and select the ‘Get Started’ button under the Have You Been Posted section? The system will then prompt you to enter a proposed vacate date. This will trigger DHA to commence the vacate process and to have your contributions ceased at the appropriate time.

If you are moving within locality or within four weeks, please contact DHA on 139 342 to arrange vacation and to have your contributions ceased.

Please note - you should allow up to two pay periods for your contribution to cease being deducted from your pay.

For further information regarding Service Residences and Surplus Service Residences, please visit our frequently asked questions (FAQ's) page.